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What is the Myeloma Crowd Research Initiative (MCRI)?
Posted: Jan 16, 2020
What is the Myeloma Crowd Research Initiative (MCRI)? image


The Myeloma Crowd Research Initiative (MCRI) is a new approach to funding cancer research; combining the skill and knowledge of leading myeloma specialists with the patient perspective and supportive patient social communities to select and fund promising research projects in myeloma.

A small fraction of multiple myeloma patients may already be cured but researchers don’t know who, how and why. Some patients can live years without relapse while others struggle with aggressive high-risk myeloma and die quickly. Patients relapse or become refractory to treatments because the disease changes over time and with each treatment. Each myeloma case is an ever-moving target. 

The MCRI taps into the power of crowdsourcing and crowdfunding to find and fund the best ideas, research and clinical applications leading to the best treatments to achieve longer lives and potential cures. 

Thanks to your generous donations, we met our goal of $500,000 for our first MCRI "Targeting High-Risk Myeloma" and distributed the funds to each researcher. One hundred percent (100%) of the funds donated by individuals was applied directly to these fascinating immunotherapy research projects.

Next, we focused on our second MCRI campaign,“Optimizing Myeloma Care.” This campaign highlights three groundbreaking research projects carefully selected by our Advisory Board. Thanks to your incredible support on Giving Tuesday, we are so close to our goal of $250,000! Help us reach our goal by donating below.

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David Chung, MD, PhD

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Creating an Immune System Signature

Why do some multiple myeloma patients relapse early after stem cell transplant while others stay in remission for many years? The patient’s immune system may be a key factor.  Dr. Chung’s research will review patients who have undergone stem cell transplant. He will study three different parts of their immune system after transplant – T cells, lymphocytes and myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) and will compare patients with early vs. late relapse. He will then combine that immune system signature with the myeloma genetics of each patient to understand the impact they have together. 

Update on Dr. Chung's Research



Cesar Rodriguez, MD

Wake Forest University

Testing Your Individual Myeloma Tumor Against Available Myeloma Therapies

Each myeloma patient's tumor is unique and can change over time. Dr. Rodriguez is using a new 3D organoid tumor modeling platform which allows the testing of over 50 myeloma treatment combinations against your specific tumor (including your bone marrow microenvironment) to identify which treatments will work best for your type of myeloma. This personalized approach will help you find useful drug combinations that will have the most impact and avoid treatments that will be ineffective.

Update on Dr. Rodriguez's Research


Fenghuang (Frank) Zhan, PhD

University of Iowa

Targeting CD24 to Eliminate Myeloma Stem Cells

Myeloma stem cells (or early progenitor cells before they become plasma cells) may not be killed with current myeloma therapies and could be the cause of relapse. Dr. Zhan has identified the presence of CD24 as a strong candidate as a cancer stem cell marker and believes that high CD24 levels lead to more aggressive myeloma and earlier death. His work will test patient samples for the presence of CD24 and assess outcomes while also identifying CD24 monoclonal antibodies that could impact this target. 

Update on Dr. Zhan's Research



Please invite your caregivers, family and friends to donate to the MCRI to fund these important projects because we "Can't Wait for a Cure." 

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The author Allyse Shumway

about the author
Allyse Shumway

MyelomaCrowd Editorial Contributor. Daughter to a parent with cancer.

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